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The 2014 Mid-Year Review & Bob Mould Opinions

It's never too early to start making lists! Tune in for The Best Albums of 2014…so far. Later, Jim and Greg review a new contender by Hüsker Dü founder Bob Mould.

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Music News

Lyricist Gerry Goffin, whose songwriting partnership in the early 1960's with then-wife Carole King resulted in some of the biggest hits of the era, died this week at age 75. Broadway fans may have recently seen this creative and romantic relationship fall apart on stage in the musical "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical." But, the songs endure, including "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Up on the Roof" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday," performed by The Monkees.

For more on the Brill Building era, check out Jim and Greg's interview with another famous songwriting duo, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

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The Best Albums of 2014…So Far

Jim and Greg share their mid-year best album picks. Their best-of lists of 2014 albums have surprisingly little overlap.

reviewBeauty & RuinSilver Age available on iTunes

Bob Mould Silver Age

10 solo albums later and former Hüsker Dü frontman (and friend of the show) Bob Mould still shows no sign of slowing down. The alt-rock pioneer adds another album to that list with his latest, this month's Beauty and Ruin. Jim and Greg celebrate the release as a return to form for Mould, who has often taken creative detours away from his rock trio past—one that paved the way for bands like Nirvana, Greenday, Nirvana and more. On Beauty and Ruin, Mould returns to that influential sound and reaches deep both into the din of his instrumentation, and into his personal history, to meld huge melodies with emotionally resonant lyrics. Greg loves the honesty and says Beauty and Ruin is a Buy It. Jim agrees the album is worth purchasing, but doesn‘t think it lives up to Mould’s previous album, 2012's Silver Age, in terms of killer hooks and levity. Jim says pick both up if you can.

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Greg

On his latest trip to the desert island, Greg pays tribute to an unsung musical hero who passed away more than 20 years ago. Mississippi-born guitarist and singer Ted Hawkins was often found on Venice Beach strumming along to folk, blues, and country standards, but occasionally - often at the behest of an awestruck passerby - he made his way into a recording studio. One such occasion came after Hawkins spent a lengthy stint in jail working through a heroin addiction. The album Hawkins cut after his release, Happy Hour, features the poignant track "Bad Dog" which Greg sees as the perfect metaphor for the late soulman's erratic life and career, and the perfect song to get a sense of what the man was all about.

Featured Songs

  1. The Drifters, Up on the Roof, Up on the Roof, Rhino, 1963
  2. Whitney Houston, Saving All My Love for You, Whitney Houston, Sony Music, 1985
  3. The Monkees, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Last Train to Clarksville, Arista, 1966
  4. Pretenders, Middle of the Road, Learning to Crawl, Sire, 1984
  5. Damon Albarn, Heavy Seas of Love, Everyday Robots, Parlophone, 2014
  6. Lydia Loveless, Wine Lips, Somewhere Else, Bloodshot, 2014
  7. Against Me!, True Trans Soul Rebel, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Resist Records, 2014
  8. Stealers Wheel, Stuck in the Middle, Stealers Wheel, Lemon Recordings, 1973
  9. Wussy, Teenage Wasteland, Attica!, Damnably, 2014
  10. Wussy, Beautiful, Attica!, Damnably, 2014
  11. Le Butcherettes, Burn the Scab, Cry is for the Flies, Nadie Sound, 2014
  12. Parquet Courts, Black and White, Sunbathing Animal, Mom+Pop Music/What's Your Rupture?, 2014
  13. Fucked Up, Sun Glass, Glass Boys, Arts & Crafts, 2014
  14. Protomartyr, Want Remover, Under Color of Official Right, Hardly Art, 2014
  15. Bonobo, Ten Tigers, The North Borders, Ninja Tune, 2013
  16. Bob Mould, Hey Mr. Grey, Beauty & Ruin, Merge, 2014
  17. Bob Mould, The War, Beauty & Ruin, Merge, 2014
  18. The Police, Message in a Bottle, Reggatta de Blanc, A&M, 1979
  19. The Saints, (I'm) Stranded, (I'm) Stranded, EMI, 1977
  20. Ted Hawkins, Bad Dog, Happy Hour, New Rounder, 2011
  21. Etta James, Purple Rain, All the Way, RCA Victor, 2006
  22. Beach Boys, Had to Phone Ya, 15 Big Ones, Caribou Records, 1976
  23. Angel Olsen, Stars, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Jagjaguwar, 2014
  24. Lake Street Dive, Bad Self Portraits, Bad Self Portraits, Signature Sounds, 2014
  25. Nine Inch Nails, Head Like a Hole, Pretty Hate Machine, Strategic Marketing/UMG/Universal Island Records Ltd., 1989

Footnotes

nytimes.com Gerry Goffin obitituary beautifulonbroadway.com Beautiful: The Carole King Musical soundopinions.org Mann & Weil on Sound Opinions soundopinions.org Lydia Loveless on Sound Opinions soundopinions.org Parquet Courts on Sound Opinions bobmould.com Bob Mould independent.co.uk Ted Hawkins amazon.com Happy Hour by Ted Hawkins